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Hector Mata

June 11-July 3, 2009
Reception June 11, 6-10pm

"Untitled 14"                                                       © 2009 Hector Mata


"In the Roman Catholic Tradition 'Limbo' is the supposed abode of the souls of un-baptized infants and of the just who died before Christ. The word explains also an intermediate state or condition of awaiting a decision.

I have always been living in a sort of limbo. Two parallel worlds coexisting, one defined by the country I lived in, the other residing in my dreams and heart. At one point in space and time, I decided to walk and photograph one of those places in which the two worlds collide: the border

This is a sample of an installation that attempts to remind us that, despite laws and political positions, statistics and economic matters, immigration is about human beings.

It includes a series of photographs of places along the border between the US and Mexico, a collection of personal belongings found on immigrant’s paths and roads in the Arizona desert and videos of immigrants’ interviews during their journey to the north."

--Hector Mata, 2009


About the Artist:
Hector Mata moved to the U.S. from Peru over a decade ago, after living in Russia for four years. He was a staff photographer for Agence France-Presse from 1991–1997.

Mata took an artistic approach to a subject close to his heart in the photo-based project he calls Limbo. Mata conceived of Limbo as an exhibition in which the physical boundary line between the U.S. and Mexico is a touchstone. For Mata, the border is a metaphor for the unique intermediate state of identity inhabited by immigrants. As an immigrant from Peru, he understands the complex issue firsthand, “I have always lived in a sort of limbo, myself. Two parallel worlds exist: one defined by the country in which I live, the other residing in my dreams and heart,” he writes.

Mata captured images of the borderline on a drive along the length of the border from San Ysidro, California, to Boca Chica, Texas, in 2007. Alongside near-abstract black-and-white photographs, he presents diptychs that pair lyrical black-and-white scenes near the border with color images of personal objects abandoned by would-be immigrants as they crossed the border. These forlorn objects—shoes, snapshots, and handwritten letters—serve as haunting reminders that immigration is not merely a political hot button, but an often-perilous and demoralizing journey made by real people.





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